Thursday, July 28, 2011

Diary from experiences at Mengo and Malaika

July 20th- Occupational Health clinic- This clinic is an outpatient clinic that cares for and provides schooling for mentally challenged children in Uganda. There are approximately 40 children that come daily for classes. The children learn basic education such as alphabet, counting , days of the week and crafts. They also learn practical skills such as cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and gardening. These children are often severely neglected in Uganda and there is little political , financial or family support for them .This project is funded by an organization from the UK. (7 hrs)

July 25th – Malaika’s Babies home- Worked in a UK funded orphanage that cares for 25 babies from the ages of 1 day- 3 yrs. It is funded and partially staffed by the childifoundation from the UK. The orphanage is very well staffed, with 4 babies to one Ugandan nanny and they also have 2 full-time nurses and 8 social workers. Many of the children have been abandoned by their mothers, one baby had been thrown down a pit latrine, and many left in churches, on the street or in the hospital where they were born. This is usually because of financial reasons or because the mother is HIV+. Some of the children are quite sick and have HIV, TB or malaria when they arrive. Malaika provides care for these children and attempts to find homes for them. The social workers work hard on finding adoptive families that are suitable and also search for a family member, such as an aunt or grandmother that would be willing to take the child. Of a child is adopted out, the social workers continue to follow the child to ensure the child and family are assimilating well and that the family is able to manage the child, especially if the child has medical problems such as HIV.- Assisted the nurse at the orphanage to care for 4 of the children that required Dr’s visits. The orphanage has a nurse that is on shift each day, and if a child is sick the child is quarantined to the nurses room in order to provide better care and to prevent infection of the other children. 2 of the children were going for routine follow up on ARV treatment and 1 had a respiratory infection and another diarrhea. The clinic can provide diagnosis, and the nurse can provide treatment such as IV’s and nasogastric tubes if needed.( 7 hrs)

July 26th- Malaika’s babies home – Went with a social worker to do a home visit on a child that was placed with the grandmother. The mother had abandoned the child at the hospital and refused to see the baby after Malaika’s home tried to contact her. The mother was HIV+ and had not told her husband she was positive, the baby was also positive. Malaika’s attempted to find a family member that would be willing to take the baby. The grandmother said she would provide care for the child, even though she was very poor and was already caring for 3 other abandoned children. Malaika’s went to the homesite to assess conditions, and they were very poor… The family lives completely off the vegetables they can grow and the few goats and chickens they have. The homesite was very dirty, cooking was done over wood fire, water is gathered from the well, the house has no doors or windows, and the people sleep on straw on the floor… this is actually a common site in the villages. Yet the grandmother was willing to take in another mouth and provide love to the child. Malaika’s worked with the grandmother on cleaning up the homesite and educating about the importance of washing dishes, food, clothes and children. They also are giving her education about nutrition and teaching her how to provide food with the limited resources they have. The other problem they face is keeping this child on ARV’s. The grandmother has been educated on the importance of adherence. She brings the baby into a nearby clinic for monthly check-ups and to get the medications for the child. Malaika’s social workers check on this grandmother every one or two weeks to ensure that she can continue to provide care for this baby, so far the grandmother has been doing well with the extreme lack of resources she has and the child is healthy, loved and happy. The grandmother is still quite upset with her daughter who refuses to assist financially or any other way with the baby. (7 hrs)

July 27th- Malaika’s Babies home- Care and socialization with the children, then assisted the nurse with taking 5 of the children to the clinic. Two children very sick, one had to have an nasogastric tube placed because he was not eating-he has parasites/worms. Another had a temp of 105 – and not eating- This ones father brought her to Malaika’s and said the mother had left him with the baby one month ago, but he did not know how to care for it. All attempts will be made to educate the father in care of the child if he is willing to care for it. (7 hrs)

July 28th- Meeting with the US Ambassador for Uganda, and the USAID missions director. They wanted to have a meeting with us to understand our work with the GHFP. We as a group and our supervisors gave a brief presentation about our experiences here in Uganda thus far. (3 hrs)

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